Business

110 000 e-passports issued in less than six months

THE Registrar-General’s (RG) Office has issued over 110 000 e-passports to date, less than six months after the initiative to manufacture modern travelling documents was launched in January.

More than 500 000 national identity cards (IDs) and an equal number of birth certificates have also been processed since the mobile registration blitz to issue critical documents began on April 1.

It is envisaged that the country’s passport backlog, which stood at close to 200 000 in January, would be cleared by year-end.

In addition to Harare, e-passports were now being issued in Bulawayo, Lupane, Chitungwiza, Hwange and Murewa after Government entered into a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) arrangement with Lithuanian company Garsa Pasaulis (GP) to produce passports that meet international standards.

Registrar-General Mr Henry Machiri said the department was satisfied with progress made so far.

“As at June 3, 2022, the department has produced 110 195 electronic passports (e-passports). This is quite commendable given that we have managed to do this in just six months. We could have actually done better, but currently the department is experiencing challenges in the clearance of the backlog and production of machine-readable passports due to breakdown of machinery.

“Efforts are, however, underway to address the situation.”

He said the decentralisation programme to issue passports in every province is continuing.

“So far, Bulawayo, Lupane, Chitungwiza, Hwange and Murewa districts are now issuing e-passports. Plans are afoot to open new centres in several districts countrywide.”

The passport office produces both machine-readable passports and e-passports.

The backlog relates to machine-readable travelling documents.

Overall, over one million IDs and birth registrations have been issued so far.

“The department is currently conducting a national mobile registration exercise which commenced on April 1, 2022. As at May 31, 2022, the department has issued 508 886 IDs, 549 960 birth certificates and 19 037 death certificates.”

Mr Machiri said birth certificates and national IDs are crucial for Zimbabweans to obtain other documents such as passports and driver’s licences.

Delivering a keynote address while officially opening the Murewa District Registry Office and an e-Passport Bio-enrolment Centre last week, President Mnangagwa encouraged people to use the ongoing blitz to acquire vital civil documents.

“Therefore, no one must be left behind during this ongoing registration process. Under the Second Republic, every citizen is important and has an obligation to contribute to the development of our motherland, as we accelerate the attainment of Vision 2030,” he said.

-sundaymail

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